Posts Tagged ‘Soul Cycle’

bilbl_superThis morning I woke up in just enough time to head to the spin class I’d been planning to attend for more than a week.  Actually, today’s spin class has been years in the making.  I’ve wanted to try spinning forever, but was extremely intimidated by the proximity of the bikes to each other.  When I was over 300 pounds, I was worried that I’d spill over into my neighbor’s personal space.  Not a great feeling.

There was the time, back in August 2011, when I went into the empty spin room and spent 5 minutes on the bike.  I know I didn’t even get “out of the saddle”/stand up on the bike, because I had no idea what I was doing.   I also didn’t change the tension at all.  I do remember that I felt the pain in the pubic bone that comes with spinning.

So I prepared for that pain by buying some padded spin pants that had a skirt overlay.  I’d first seen them on Emmie’s blog, and because I was convinced I was eventually going to try spinning, I decided the investment was worth it.  I remember in August 2011 that I was embarrassed to wear them in public because of how tight they were.  The skirt was almost indecent because my big booty was causing it to ride way up in the back, barely covering. Here’s the post from December 2011 where the pants showed up again.  This time, I actually missed the spin class because I was fooling around with the fit of the pants, trying to camouflage how tight they were on me.

I haven’t tried spinning in all this time, but today was the day.  My gym offers lots of spin classes Monday-Thursday: at 5:45am, 9am, and 6pm.  I figured the 5:45am class would be packed, as would the 6pm, and since I was off, 9am seemed like the ticket.  Because I’d heard all the horror stories about how much the spin seat hurts the pubic bone, I decided to wear the padded, skirted pants even though they were way too big.  Like at least 3 sizes too large! Let’s compare the fit, shall we?

Left - 12/2011 Right - today, 2/2014

Left – 12/2011  Right – today, 2/2014
The difference in these two photos is really striking, especially because I’m sucking in my stomach in both shots. Dramatic difference!!

I don't know if you can tell, but the skirt was way, way longer today.  Less of a booty keeping it up!

I don’t know if you can tell, but the skirt was way, way longer today. Less of a booty keeping it up!

And here’s a front view picture, just for good measure.

2014-02-18 11.09.10

So many of my workout clothes are just way, way too big. This top is supposed to be one of those snug, dry-weave tanks, but you can see that it’s super loose on me. I’ve gotta hit an activewear sale soon.

Anyway, back to the class.  I got there about 10 minutes early, just to make sure that I had time to chat with the teacher and make sure I had the bike all set up.  I found out that the seat should be set so that it’s in the middle of my hip when I’m standing up next to it.  I also made sure that when I sat on the bike my legs were still slightly bent, not completely straight.  The teacher showed me how to change the tension, and told me that I could stay a “half step behind” if I wanted to; meaning I could take it a bit easier than the rest of the class since it was my first time.  You guys know that there was no way I was going to take it easy, right?!

The class itself was so great!  The teacher started off the class with Pharrell’s “Happy,” which couldn’t have been more perfect! In fact, take 4 minutes right now and listen to it.  It’s guaranteed to make you feel fantastic!

The teacher immediately turned off the lights in the room.  I’m not really sure why – maybe so that we wouldn’t focus on how we looked in that room which was surrounded by mirrors?  At one point during the class, I caught a glimpse of a girl in the mirror across the room and my first thought was how good she looked on the bike, how confident she seemed as she pedaled.  Only, she didn’t look like any of the women in the class.  I went one by one trying to figure out which one she was, until I realized – SHE WAS ME!  I can’t tell you how amazing that felt.  That I thought that I looked great during an exercise class is a new first.  That and the fact that I wasn’t the biggest girl in the room.  And I wasn’t worried at all about being too big for the bike – there was plenty of room on either side of me today.  NSVs abounded!

I felt empowered by how strong my legs were, and how well I kept up, even when we were “climbing.”  Climbing is when you slowly increase the tension in the bike higher and higher to mimic climbing a hill or mountain.  Sometimes these climbs were done “in saddle” (sitting down) and other times the climbs were done while standing the entire time. She also had us go on “mixed climbs” where we alternated between sitting and standing as we increased the tension.  I really enjoyed how the teacher used the music to help us get through the tough parts of the workout, and I can see that a really great playlist can make all the difference.

To be honest, the worst part of the entire class was when we were “in saddle” because my pubic bone just killed me.  I kept squirming and moving around as I sat there, trying to get in any position that would relieve a little of the pain.  I can’t imagine what it would’ve felt like without the padding in my pants!  I’m still slightly sore right now, 8 hours later, as I write this.  Everyone says the pain goes away and you get used to it the more you do it.  Still, I’m going to have to dig out that bike seat cover that I’d bought a few years ago, because I will take any extra padding I can get.  Even with the pain, I absolutely loved the spin class!

This is the photo I posted on Instagram this morning.  See how big that smile is in both of those photos?  That’s because I felt so accomplished, so proud.  I finally did something that I’d been wanting to do forever.  And not only did I do it, but I loved it.  I was good at it.  My strong legs took me through the entire class, and while I was “glowing” within 10 minutes, I felt beautiful.

2014-02-18 10.04.51Today’s Adventure in Fitness was amazing! So much so that I’m going to start going to spin classes at least once a week. And I’m going to treat myself to a session at Soul Cycle sometime soon, to check another thing off my Fitness Bucket List.

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Phew, I’m finally coming up for air.  And YES, I do realize that today is Tuesday, and not Monday, but it’s been so crazy that I am barely catching up on some of the blogs.  I was super-busy this weekend grading and now that it’s done and I have a brief respite until the next sets of essays come in, I thought that letting my mind wonder on today’s topic would be the perfect getaway.  Even if it’s only pretend!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Dream Vacation(s)

If you were given two tickets that you (and someone you chose) could use to fly anywhere in the world, where would you go? And why?

I have two vacations in mind – one is a completely relaxing, lay-on-the-beach-and-veg-out kind of trip and the other one would take me to the hustle and bustle of NYC/East Coast.  You know what?  Since this is my blog, I think I’ll write about both.

Dream Vacation #1  – The Beach  – Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento, Italy

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by work (and life) the last few weeks – nothing too stressful if I’m honest with myself – just really busy.  Nonetheless, I have been feeling a bit wound up and stressed out.  At times like that, nothing calms me down like being near the ocean.  I’m lucky enough to live 45 minutes in either direction from the Pacific Ocean, but since we’re talking about a Dream Vacation, I figured I had to make it a bit exotic.  Right?

I’ve been to Sorrento, Italy before, in 1995 when my sister and I took a month-long, single-sisters-see-the-old-country trip through Italy.  It was fantastic.  It has all the coastal beauty of the much more well known Capri, without all the hype.  There are definitely lots of tourists all about, but the people of Sorrento seemed nicer and more down to earth than the ones we met on the isle of Capri.

On my this dream vacation, I’d wake up early and walk through the town square, stopping at my favorite torrefazione and order a Cappuccino and some sort of breakfast bread.  My days will be spent on the beach, lounging with Salvatore and/or Giuseppe, reading, laughing, and enjoying the turquoise water.  Evenings will be spent enjoying the locals – soaking up my southern Italian culture, learning a bit of the language, and just having fun.  Maybe a ride on the back of a cute guy’s Vespa.  Nothing too planned out.  Just pure hedonistic enjoyment of the time, place, and people.

Dream Vacation #2  – The East Coast

I’ve never been to NYC before; a fact that most find shocking.  I know I’d love the busyness of the streets, the energy of the people, and the amazing sites and sounds.  NYC just seems to be alive to me.  I want to see plays on Broadway and food from around the world at 3am (it IS the city that never sleeps, after all).  I also want to take a spin class at Soul Cycle.

I want to go running or biking through Central Park and take in all of the natural beauty hidden in the middle of that giant metropolis. I want to have a sweet treat at Serendipity (after burning off the calories at Soul Cycle, I think my food log will allow it).

From NYC, I’d like to travel to New Jersey.

  No, not because I’m obsessed with all the t.v. shows featuring Jersey (although I do love RHONJ), but because it just seems like my kind of state.  Lots of down-to-earth, loud, hard-working, loyal Italian-Americans.  In the Bay Area, there are some Italians, but nothing like the numbers I know live in Jersey.  Growing up, I was always mistaken for another ethnicity – Mexican, Persian, Colombian – you name it, but never Italian.  In New Jersey, I know that I’d be recognized without a doubt.  One of my friends kids that “Jersey is the armpit of America,” and I’m sure that some parts of New Jersey are that way, but I know that others are just as gorgeous as anywhere else.  I’ve always secretly thought the future love of my life would come from the East Coast, and Jersey is as good as anywhere to find “the one.”  And if all else fails, I’ll go “down the shore” and just enjoy the beach (and the fist-pumping music).

What trip to New England would be complete without a stop in Boston?

Beautiful fall foliage in Boston Common.

I’ve been to Boston, MA in the summer, and it was nice, but I really want to go at this time of year and see the beautiful fall foliage that can’t be found anywhere else.  Plus, Boston is one of the only other cities I could ever see myself living (if I ever had to leave the SF Bay Area). The people are so warm and friendly, and they definitely know how to have a good time.  There’s so much history, too, which I love learning more about.  Whether I could withstand the winters is a whole other story.


Now it’s your turn! Where would your dream vacation take you?  Don’t forget to go to Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!

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Yesterday I decided it was time to face the beast and go into the spinning room at my gym. Instead of heading to a full-on class where I didn’t know what to expect, I thought it would be smarter to go into the room when no one else was there and see how I did with the bike.


Would I be able to tame the bike?

I am really glad that I decided to do a bit of “homework” regarding spinning before going to an actual class and then possibly finding out that I wasn’t able to stay for the entire thing.  With as close as these bikes are to each other, leaving early seems like it would be an awkward endeavor.

The first thing I needed to do was adjust the seat – I put it down to the lowest setting, since I’m short and my legs are even shorter.  Doing that allowed me to get on the bike just fine.  I’d also adjusted the foot straps on the pedals to make sure that I could easily slide my feet into them, once I was on the bike.

When I sat down and began pedaling, I realized that my knees were way too bent to bike comfortably for very long.  I didn’t readjust, because just a few minutes on that bike seat told me that I wouldn’t be staying on the bike for too long.  Somehow I’m going to have to find a happy medium between bike seat height and leg distance; I’m sure I can raise the seat a bit and still get on it alright.


There I am, spinning!

A note or two about spinning itself – I think that with a padded seat/bike skort, I would really love this exercise.  The seat does hurt “down below” as everyone has mentioned, but it hit me in a slightly lower place than I expected.  No need for too many details – spinning hurts, although I’m sure that once you do it often (and with some padding), it gets much better.  It hurt enough while seated for me to determine that until I buy the padded bike skort, I won’t be attending a spinning class.  It’s just too painful.  Spinning while standing up on the bike was really tough but really great at the same time.  I felt strong and powerful and like my legs were getting a great workout.  It definitely raised my heartrate and used my muscles, which was a great feeling.

I recently found out about a spinning studio in NYC called Soul Cycle (Olivia and Hannah (the purple team from BL) both go there regularly), and I have decided that when I visit New York, this is going to be one of my stops.  It looks like an amazing place, and even though the drop-in fee is expensive at $32 (plus $3 for the shoe rental), it would be an experience I would remember forever, I’m sure.  So that’s on the life list now.

All in all, I only lasted about 5 minutes on the spin bike, but in those 5 minutes, I burned 78 calories!  I could burn 932 calories in a 1-hour class!  I can see why people get addicted to spinning, and I think that once I have the right equipment, I’m going to join in on the fun.

Since I didn’t last too long on the spin bike, and I wanted to make sure to get in my calorie burn, I headed to my old friend, the elliptical machine.  It had been FOREVER since I’d been on it, boy did I feel the time apart!  🙂  I usually do a setting called “weight loss” which is a moderate interval that lasts for 28 minutes, plus a 5-minute cool down (33 minute total).  Yesterday I was feeling adventurous, so I did the “interval” mode, which was quite a bit more intense.  It alternated minute by minute between 8-1 and 8-8 (crossramp-resistance). My heart rate was right around 150 for most of the workout, and I can tell you that I’m feeling it today.  The coolest thing is, I was doing 15-minute miles, which is fairly fast for me, especially at that intensity.


I took this pic to show the miles vs. time, not the calories.

Since the machine doesn’t accurately reflect my calorie burn, I went with what LoseIt said I burned – 564 calories.  I know that’s more accurate because LoseIt takes my weight and age into consideration when it calculates calorie burn, the machine doesn’t.  (Or, I should say, I didn’t bother to enter that info on the machine).

Yesterday was a great day of cardio, and it’s nice to know that I can replicate it throughout the school year, since I’ll be taking fewer classes than I am now.

Since I really need to ramp up my strength training, that’s my plan for today’s workout.  I have a bbq to go to (I love that I’m on summer vacation and I’m going to a bbq in the middle of the day on a Thursday!!), but later this afternoon I’m going to hit the gym and either take the BodyPump class, or if I don’t make it to that, I’ll do some strength training/cardio on my own.

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